Do posts like this help or incite fear?
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Thread: Do posts like this help or incite fear?

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    Prolific Poster bunnyfufu's Avatar
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    Default Do posts like this help or incite fear?

    I am a small time mommy-blogger. We recently had a couple of things happen that made us kinda freak out as mommies. Twice now, a man in a black pickup has approached grade schoolers and asked them to get in the truck.

    I wrote about it and I am feeling a little nervous. Did responding to it by blogging add to fear or help calm it?

    Quoted below:

    Montana Parent Magazine | A Parenting Resource Promoting Healthy Families


    Like you, on Thursday afternoon I received a forwarded email with the subject heading: ?MSU Alert: Timely Warning -- Attempted Kidnapping? and I bit my lip and read about a report that an elementary-school aged boy who lives in the MSU married-student housing, reported that he was approached by an unknown male suspect in a black pickup truck.

    This being right on the heels of a similar incident, on Tuesday, Feb. 5, where an elementary-school aged female reported that she was approached near Hyalite Elementary by a male suspect in a black pickup truck.

    I had a flash of fear. And then I started typing a note to our Sheriff, Brian Gootkin. I happened to have his email handy because after the Sandy Hook shootings, he, Matt Kelley, Scott Malloy and Buck Taylor came together and wrote the article, Hugs Aren?t Enough, in a measured response.

    Here is what I emailed to our Sheriff:

    Hello Sheriff!
    I am writing to you because among my fellow mommies, we are getting more and more concerned about our kids safety. With the kidnapping attempts and of course lingering worries after Sandy Hook, it feels like it's been a troublesome year.



    I am planning on writing a piece for our blog about how it feels to have entered my son in kindergarten this year, with all that going on. And attempting to speak clearly and effectively with kids about it without causing them undue fear. It is a fine line.


    Maybe you want to be part of that, have some advice or would be willing to meet for coffee to chat about it with me.
    Thanks for your consideration.


    He responded:
    I would love to. When are you thinking?



    Ok, whew. I admit to feeling a bit out of my depth here, I am a mommy blogger for heaven?s sake, not an investigative reporter. But I sincerely asked for help and advice and our sheriff put on the white hat and said how can I help you ma?am?

    I dropped the kids at their schools on Friday morning and grabbed a couple to-go cups of coffee and went to meet Brian at the Law and Justice Center.

    He was very kind as I stumbled and babbled about my concerns and what kind of advice I was hoping he could give us. As a human being I tend to be a bit squishy and empathetic and panic prone, even as I try my best to be calm and cool.

    I told him that for me, it is really important when I put my head down on my pillow at night, to know that I have done the best that I can by my kids.

    Ultimately, I landed on my questions. What is the risk here? What are the most useful things we can do as parents to keep our kids safe?

    ?We live in a very safe community. That is why we live here. We have good schools, a great law enforcement community. You have been to places where it is not safe and that is very different. It {the recent news} is concerning. And also, as parents we are extra sensitive after the Sandy Hook shooting.?


    I agree with him. I most certainly do not feel that there are boogey men lurking around every corner, and if I did. . . I would move. I would be gone in a heartbeat.


    I was a school kid back in the 80?s where the threats were weird Nuclear fallout drills that schools did after the very popular television event, The Day After, aired and not social media instantly telling us about a very creepy individual in our midst. I am constitutionally unprepared for this.


    My sweetheart always tells me, ?When you don?t know how to tackle a problem, get someone smarter in the room.? So I did.

    ?What can you do? The Basics.?

    1. Have the stranger-danger talk with your kids in an age appropriate way. Role-play it. Give them what ifs.
    ?What if the stranger says he wants to show you the puppy in his car? Has awesome candy for you? We yell, NO! And find a trusted adult, or pretty much any other adult ? they are safer than the guy who is trying to get you to go to his car.

    Under stress, we do what we have practiced. If the kids have a process, the plan is in their head without them thinking about it.

    2. Try to never be alone.
    There is no good way to say this, but predators tend to go for the path of least resistance. A kid who is alone, who maybe looks sad is a way easier target than two or 3 or 4 kids together playing or a single kid with an adult who is watching out.

    3. Trust your human instinct.
    We have it. We feel it. Trust it. This one is harder for younger children but if you build into your family culture that instinct is respected, engender a sense that they can trust their instincts; you will be way ahead of the game.

    Tell them that anytime they have that feeling of not being safe to tell an adult or to even call 911. The only thing that will come of that is that someone will help them. Everyone wants to prevent something bad from happening. Adults are in their life to help them and so is the sheriff?s office.

    4. Teach your kids your phone number and address. In this day and age, I almost think that the cell number is the most useful thing you can teach in this regard.

    Being that my kids are 4 and 6, I haven?t really focused on that, but in talking about it with a friend, I realized the brilliance of the ?Cell Phone Song.? When I asked what the Cell Phone Song was. She said, ?Well, Mine goes like this. . .

    406?
    555?
    1113
    That?s my mommy?s
    Cell phone for me.?

    Again, I think this is just brilliant. It never even occurred to me to put my cell number to a jingle, but kids can learn anything by song. ABCs anyone?

    So folks, that is a lot of plain talk. I really hope it?s been helpful for you. It?s been helpful for me to chat some of this out. If you can think of anything I have left off of the list of basics, let me know. We are all in this parenting thing together and I am truly feeling more on top of this than I was on Thursday afternoon.

    -----------------------

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    I will confess to not reading your whole post carefully as my eyes are barely open. I did want to say that I taught my girls their phone number to the tune of Varasaqua (Yes, I know that is spelled wrong but spell check will never understand what I am trying to spell). Think (random numbers) "555 555, 213 213, 2216 2216. That's my phone number. That's my phone number."
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    ~Bonita~

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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    I don't think talking about this issue ever hurts as long as it's done in a productive way and not in a sensationalistic way, kwim? Tiven & I were talking about phone numbers the other night. I think memorizing phone numbers is really important for kids, and it's becoming a lost skill. When I was a kid we didn't have cell phones or even auto dial phones; if you wanted to call Nana, you learned her phone number. Kids now can see Nana's pic on the cell phone & tap it to give her a call; some of them don't even know that there *is* a number connected to Nana or to the cell phone they're holding. Tiven learned her address & phone numbers in preschool at the age of three. We were kind of surprised, it seemed very early, but it's something they automatically teach all the kids & reinforce every so often. Weston's not in preschool yet but we taught him when he turned three.

    DH thinks this is silly but I practice getting lost with the kids. My sister was once lost at a mall for many hours, and it was very traumatic. The mall was locked down & searched top to bottom; when she wasn't found, they thought she'd been kidnapped. The reason no one found her was because she left the mall. We finally found her sitting on my mom's car; she said that way we couldn't leave without her. I've taught my kids to not leave the area where they find themselves lost, as long as it's safe. If we're in a store or mall they're to look for someone who works there (uniform and/or name tag) but to never go anywhere the general public can't see them, not into an office or storage room. Their second-best option for help is a mom with kids, and especially if they can see that she has a cell phone. But mostly we work on not getting lost in the first place. At stores, my job is to shop, their job is to stay with me. At playgrounds, they can play freely but don't leave the area & try to keep an eye on me since I don't move around. If we're in a place where Weston might be more likely to wander away (Santa Cruz boardwalk & Monterey Aquarium recently) I tuck a piece of paper into his pocket that says, "My name is Weston. Please call 415-555-1234." I've also taught them to call my name if they can't see me. There are 200 Moms at the park, but probably only one Stacey.

    Their favorite thing is when we practice screaming. We practice "He's NOT MY DAD!" while we run away from a pretend villian. They like that.
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    Prolific Poster bunnyfufu's Avatar
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    I really meant it in a helpful way and I am getting positive feedback about it. I think I sometimes over think things. That and I truly hope that my ability to communicate is clear enough, but as we all know, sometimes what we put into writing doesn't come across how we meant it to. Thanks for the responses!

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    We recently worked on the phone numbers while we were at Disney. There were so many people it would be easy to get separated. We held hands at all times, but I also talked to the older two about what to say if they got separated. We practised "Hi, my name is Alyssa Eimers. I can not find my Mommy. My phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. Alyssa did very well, Brianna not as well, although she knows her name and is working on her phone number. Caitlyn, I doubt would go to a stranger, but we never let go of her hand.
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    ~Bonita~

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    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    With phone numbers. I just saw this pin on pintrest where they made a beaded bracelet for the child with Mom's Cell number beaded onto it. I thought it was a really good idea for a little one who cant remember the numbers yet.
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    Kyla
    Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)

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    I don't think that it makes it worse because you are offering proactive solutions, not fear mongering. My kids learned my cell number and their address in their 3's class at preschool.

    I admit that I just realized during our recent emergency that I didn't know my own husbands phone number! He had had the same one for the 10 years we have been together, and it changed last winter when he changed jobs. I just programmed it and went on about my day, with him being saved to my favorites. When I got to the ER with my son I couldn't call my husband because I had run to the ambulance without my cell phone. It was a good lesson to me to learn it!
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    Prolific Poster bunnyfufu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlyssaEimers View Post
    I will confess to not reading your whole post carefully as my eyes are barely open. I did want to say that I taught my girls their phone number to the tune of Varasaqua (Yes, I know that is spelled wrong but spell check will never understand what I am trying to spell). Think (random numbers) "555 555, 213 213, 2216 2216. That's my phone number. That's my phone number."
    I have been puzziling on what song you meant and I think I've figured it out!

    Frere Jaques!

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    Prolific Poster Danifo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potter75 View Post
    I admit that I just realized during our recent emergency that I didn't know my own husbands phone number! He had had the same one for the 10 years we have been together, and it changed last winter when he changed jobs. I just programmed it and went on about my day, with him being saved to my favorites. When I got to the ER with my son I couldn't call my husband because I had run to the ambulance without my cell phone. It was a good lesson to me to learn it!
    I have to admit that I know no one's phone number other than my own and my ILs.
    DD1 July 2008 (41w3d)
    November 2010 (13 weeks)
    DD2 August 2011 (33w5d)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danifo View Post
    I have to admit that I know no one's phone number other than my own and my ILs.
    I know mine, my parents (only because they haven't moved since my childhood!) and NOW (thanks to an emergency) my husbands. It really hit home to me how cell phone/speed dial dependent I am!

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